Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Chasing Round Perdition's Flames: The Official Starships Collection Issue 11; USS Reliant

And now for a quick catch up on one we missed out....Sorry. Normal service will be resumed....

I won't go into the done-to-death 'Khan!' joke, or meme, or pun, or any of that. I'll instead lay into Kirk for cheating on the Kobayashi Maru. "Got a commendation for original thinking" - no, you cheated, pure and simple. There was no need for a god complex on a technicality! ...Sorry I had to get that off my chest. Ahem, the ship then.

The Miranda Class escort/science vessel. Actually one of four variants of Miranda class Starfleet commissioned and, like the Excelsior from The Search for Spock et al, it too has seen extensive usage throughout canon Star Trek, including multiple movie appearances. It does appear these two ships slipped quickly into workhorse roles amongst the series, more than likely due to the availability of the models and the ease with which they could be filmed. Interestingly in that respect note how many times the Constitution Class refit reappeared... 

Anyway, curiously for an aging starship design, it saw combat at both the major Borg engagements (Wolf 359 and Sector 001) as well as throughout the Dominion War although generally they seem to end up a few million bits. Take the hint, Starfleet.An interesting note here, the destroyed USS Reliant does apparently make a ghostly appearance in Deep Space Nine's Tears of The Prophets. Perhaps not by name, but definitely by registry (NCC-1864).

But still, I'm digressing here. Onto Eaglemoss' metal and plastic incarnation of this infamous design.

I am pleased with it's overall detail although there are a few "structural integrity" issues that collectors familiar with the movie era ships will know all too well (flexi-nacelles). Given the reviewed releases from Eaglemoss to date, I sadly have to pay close attention to the paint job, the spelling of Federation, alien words instead of ship names, or backwards/upside down Starfleet insignia. I'm happy to report that the Reliant has none of these complications! Decal-focused it is pleasingly perfect. I especially like the detail on the overhead torpedo pod, and the view from the rear, even down to the correct external numbering of the shuttle bays. So, there you have it - nicely detailed, if a little flimsy in the nacelle area but I'm not complaining, she's a beauty and a fine addition to the fleet.

No, I will complain, I haven't bought it yet. I'll complain to my conscience for not having purchased it, because it is very eye-catching and I have an urge to try and recreate the Mutara Nebula scene - who hasn't???!!! On that note, nice to see that we have some narrative on that key sequence and just what it took to bring the destruction of the Reliant to the screen. Looking back at the refit Enterprise we could have done with a piece there on how they filmed its final moments over the Genesis Planet.

Flipping through the magazine this is a heavily documented design and movie so you won't be digging anything new up here. The pictures are crisp and you'll probably drift through until you reach the design, building and filming sections. Kudos to Eaglemoss once more in relation to these articles as they make the magazine worth picking up. A real shame that, as the collection moves through into the teens and towards the 20's, these sections are becoming less and less especially when it comes to the filming piece. Understanding the technicalities of the Real World help found these craft in the movie studio rather than the fictional void of sci-fi in space. Please, please, please make sure you give us, the fans, more of this! 

Instead though, we're now getting more character, race and story focused pieces which wasn't under the original pitch as I seem to recall from the early issues. Note here - there seems to be fluctuation in these magazines as to the content ship to ship and information dependent.

Coming back to the matter in hand, the sketches, stories and images towards the later pages are great to dive into and it is a shame we're getting less of this as it does differentiate the collection from, say, the Encyclopedia or a technical manual. It grounds the series in the Real World which is as important for fans as telling the fictional stories in which these awesome starships featured.

So, nice work, Eaglemoss, nice work and we'll almost forgive you for that shocking second issue screw-up with the Enterprise (we still haven't forgotten!). The Reliant is a must for any fan's collection. Now we're off to recreate those Mutara Nebula battles - like you aren't thinking about that too - We need warp speed in three minutes or we're all dead!!!

The Eaglemoss Official Starships Collection is available from newsagents priced £9.99 (UK) every fortnight. You can also subscribe by clicking on the link in the sidebar and head there now to secure your ships.

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